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2022 Music Theory & Composition Degree Guide

Music Theory & Composition Degrees Growing in Popularity

#415 Most Popular Major
1.1k Degrees Awarded
2.6% Increase in Graduates

In 2019-2020, music theory and composition was the 415th most popular major nationwide with 1,094 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 28 over the prior year, a growth of 2.6%.

There are 203 schools offering degrees in music theory and composition in the United States. This year's Best Music Theory & Composition Schools ranking compares 127 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of music composition programs later in this article.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Music Theory & Composition

One of the most important skills you will need for a career in music theory and composition is talking to others to convey information effectively. Required skills include understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents and giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Prior Education for a Music Composition Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most music composition degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. In addition to these basic music theory and composition program qualifications, to serve in some music composition careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Music Theory & Composition Degree Types

There are many different music composition degree levels. You can get anything from a in music theory and composition to the highest music composition degree, a . How long it takes to complete some common music composition degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A master's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to music composition, with approximately 27.1% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for music composition workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Master’s Degree 35.3%
Doctoral Degree 21.3%
Bachelor’s Degree 16.8%
Some College Courses 9.0%
Less than a High School Diploma 5.5%

Most workers in music composition have at least a bachelor's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in music theory and composition have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which music composition career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Music Composition Majors

Average Number of Jobs
71.2k Avg. Related Jobs Salary
10% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Solid Growth Projected for Music Composition Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your music composition degree? Music Theory & Composition careers are expected to grow 9.6% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to music theory and composition.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Art, Drama, and Music Professors 137,200 12.0%
Music Directors and Composers 79,100 5.7%

How Much Money Do People With a Music Composition Degree Make?

As you might expect, salaries for music composition graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

Highest Paid Music Composition Careers

Salaries for music theory and composition graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers music composition grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Art, Drama, and Music Professors $82,560
Music Directors and Composers $59,790

Getting Your Music Theory & Composition Degree

With over 314 different music composition degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased music composition school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Music Theory & Composition

Music Theory & Composition is one of 16 different types of Music programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Music Composition

Related Major Annual Graduates
General Music 11,379
Music Performance 7,348
Music Technology 1,493
Other Music 1,235
Voice Performance 670

View All Music Composition Related Majors >


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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